MP demands apology over Coastguard ‘blunder’

Galloway MP Russell Brown has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise for raising false hope that Coastguard stations earmarked for closure may have a reprieve.

He sent a letter to Coastguard campaigners stating that the stations that are planned to start closing in 13 weeks would remain open until 2015.

After campaigners were left hopeful that the Prime Minister’s comments meant that government policy had changed, the government has now confirmed that Mr Cameron’s statement was in error and the closures will continue as planned.

Dumfries and Galloway has more than 200 miles of coastline and is served by maritime rescue and coordination centres (MRCCs) in Liverpool and on the Clyde. However, the UK government is closing both centres, which means the years worth of local knowledge will be lost.

Mr Brown said: “This blunder speaks volumes about the incompetence of this government and how little the Prime Minister understands about the dangers of the Coastguard cuts. His statement raised hopes that maybe the government was finally seeing sense. But that has now been shot down in flames with the confirmation that the Prime Minister got it wrong. It is incomprehensible that such a mistake was made with something so important.

“The government is shutting down both the stations that cover Dumfries and Galloway’s coastline. The local knowledge that has been built up over years will be lost forever. They are literally playing with lives here, and yet the Prime Minister seems clueless.”